Excerpt essay by Mala Kline


  1. The Waving. A text-performance. Audience is looking at a white screen in front of them. In a short introduction of the artist or a stand-in the audience is invited to take part in the performance by way of reading in silence twelve subsequent slides with informative and instructive text and indicating when they have finished reading with a signalling gesture, a wave. The text explains in great detail the gesture of waving, its form, function, a relational contract it proposes, the ways in which it can be performed and the paradoxes that come with it. In fact the text reads like an extended definition of waving or perhaps like a manual on how to wave for those who do not know yet how to wave or perhaps for those who have forgotten how to wave. The Waving subtly stages gestures of reading as both a private activity and one needing to rearrange itself in the collective context of the theater or gallery.

Or imagine.

  1. The Waving. A video (HD, color, 10‘33”). The upper section of a skyscraper shot from a distance in one single shot. Miniscule like insects, inhabitants appear on the balconies and wave for a considerable time, to a point or event that is outside of the frame, only to disappear again into the monolithic structure of a residential tower. The video is shown as a complement to a text-performance on waving, but has also been presented autonomously as a looped video-installation.

The Waving is a piece by Myriam Van Imschoot, a Brussels-based writer and performance artist who is well known for her work with self-collected audio-archives with an interest in the performative nature of documents and the construction of alternative historiographies. She works with sonic memory, voice transmissions, living archives and gestures. Fascinated by phenomena of long distance communication, a cycle of works deal with such ‘gestures that grow extinct’ as yodeling, waving next to other pieces that feature calling, shouting, bird calls. These works are driven by desire to isolate ‘forms’ that speak of the attempt of humans and animals alike to communicate over distance. Among these The Waving focuses on the action or gesture of waving. The piece consists of two variantions of the same gesture of waving in two different mediums, one being a text-performance and the other a video projection. Both variations are sometimes staged together as one piece and other times as separate works. In them the artist is dealing with ‘proximity and distance, visibility and invisibility, stretching the borders of what can be seen and yet is felt all the same’ and pursues her interest in ‘the way humans attempt to bridge the gaps’. In her tentative and ambiguous ‘choreographic’ works Van Imschoot explores ‘perceptive sensibility and observational quality that underscore the ephemerality of life’.

Text by Mala Kline, excerpt from an essay on The Waving.